Original Paper

Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics

, Volume 119, Issue 3, pp 151-161

First online:

Disparity in the characteristic of thunderstorms and associated lightning activities over dissimilar terrains

  • Sutapa ChaudhuriAffiliated withDepartment of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Calcutta Email author 
  • , Anirban MiddeyAffiliated withDepartment of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Calcutta

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Thunderstorms and associated lightning flash activities are studied over two different locations in India with different terrain features. Lightning imaging sensor (LIS) data from 1998 to 2008 are analyzed during the pre-monsoon months (March, April and May). The eastern sector is designated as Sector A that represents a 2° × 2° square area enclosing Kolkata (22.65°N, 88.45°E) at the centre and covering Gangetic West Bengal, parts of Bihar and Orissa whereas the north-eastern sector designated as Sector B that also represents a 2° × 2° square area encircling Guwahati (26.10°N, 91.58°E) at the centre and covering Assam and foot hills of Himalaya of India. The stations Kolkata and Guwahati are selected for the present study from Sector A and Sector B, respectively, as these are the only stations over the selected areas having Radiosonde observatory. The result of the present study reveals that the characteristics of thunderstorms over the two locations are remarkably different. Lightning frequency is observed to be higher in Sector B than Sector A. The result further reveals that though the lightning frequency is less in Sector A, but the associated radiance is higher in Sector A than Sector B. It is also observed that the radiance increases linearly with convective available potential energy (CAPE) and their high correlation reveals that the lightning intensity can be estimated through the CAPE values. The sensitivity of lightning activity to CAPE is higher at the elevated station Guwahati (elevation 54 m) than Kolkata (elevation 6 m). Moderate resolution imaging spectrometer (MODIS) data products are used to obtain aerosol optical depth and cloud top temperature and employed to find their responses on lightning radiance.